Test: Pakistan, New Zealand clash in series decider
ABU DHABI: Pakistan are set to clash with New Zealand in the series-deciding third and final Test in Abu Dhabi.
The series is levelled at 1-1 after New Zealand won the first Test while Pakistan bounced back to clinch the second.
For the final encounter, Pakistan have their hopes pinned on leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who is set to become the fastest to reach 200 Test wickets.
The 32-year-old needs just five wickets to shatter Australian leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmettt´s record of completing 200 wickets in 36 Tests, way back in 1936. That will be icing on the cake as Pakistan hope Yasir — whose 14-wicket match haul crushed New Zealand to an innings and 16 run defeat in the second Test in Dubai — can come good again.
He took eight wickets in the first Test here but Pakistan fell agonisingly short, losing by four runs before levelling the series at 1-1.
Pakistan will also hope fast-rising left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi gives them edge, replacing medium pacer Mohammad Abbas who is ruled out with a shoulder injury.
The 18-year-old pacer took back to back four wicket hauls in the 1-1 drawn one-day series against New Zealand last month before getting seven wickets against England Lions in a four-day match, also in Abu Dhabi.
New Zealand will gain confidence from their second innings batting with return to form of Ross Taylor who made 81, Henry Nicholls scored 77 and Tom Latham´s 50.
They have the option of resting Trent Boult and bringing in Tim Southee, who has yet to play in the series.
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Yasir Shah, Bilal Asif, Hassan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Faheem Ashraf
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Jeet Raval, Ish Sodhi, Will Somerville, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner
Umpires: Ian Gould (ENG) and Paul Reiffel (AUS)
TV umpire: Bruce Oxenford (AUS)
Match referee: Javagal Srinath (IND)